Toronto Maple Leafs (21-18-5) at Washington Capitals (20-16-6)
|Date & Time||Friday January 10, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Washington Capitals -152 / Toronto Maple Leafs +138 --- Over/Under: 6
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Maple Leafs look to shake off an abysmal outing in Carolina last night as they head to the Verizon Center to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
The Maple Leafs have been the subject of the public eye this season more than any in year’s past as their on and off ice activities were filmed for the viewing audience of HBO’s 24/7 documentary leading up the 2014 Winter Classic. While there are certainly some distractions that come with the spectacle it seems as though the Leafs were better off under that microscope as they have lost each game since the film crew finished. Toronto has dropped three straight contests indoors after their New Year’s Day victory over the Red Wings and last night’s effort in Raleigh was perhaps the worst of the three as they dropped a 6-1 decision. While it may be an overreaction by one of the game’s most passionate fan bases they certainly have grounds for criticism as nothing seems to be working at the moment and with another game on tap tonight against the game’s best scorer it could be another long one for the blue and white. Jonathan Bernier will likely be back between the pipes for the Leafs as he goes up against Braden Holtby.
The Capitals have been up and down this season and while they sit five game above the .500 mark they have lost six of their last 10 games overall and have slipped into third place in the Metro division. Washington is coming off a big confidence boosting road victory last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning as they outlasted the Bolts to the tune of a 4-3 mark and they’ll look to build on that success as they return home to face a struggling Maple Leafs team. Washington was a playoff participant last year but much like their counterparts tonight they were ousted in the first round and were forced back to the drawing board in the offseason. While there were no major changes to the Caps roster in the offseason they did get a full summer together increasing the chemistry of the players already on the team and through the first half of the regular season it has been more of the same from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. This is another tough call as the Leafs to me are the deeper team but have been atrocious to watch of late while the Caps are coming off a big win on the road and now return home where they usually play much better. I think I am going to side with the home team here but am very weary of this game and one I certainly will not be playing on.